SAN DIEGO (AP) – Senior Jamaal Williams gained 210 yards on 26 carries and Tanner Mangum ran for a touchdown and threw for another to lead BYU to a 24-21 victory over Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl on a rainy Wednesday night.
It was the sixth 100-yard game for Williams this year and the second time he gained more than 200. He ran for a career-best 286 against Toledo.
With BYU (9-4) leading 17-7, Williams gave the Cougars some breathing room when he broke a 36-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter. That TD was set up by Dayan Lake’s interception of Josh Allen. The interception came one play after BYU’s Micah Hannemann was ejected for targeting after a helmet-to-helmet hit on the sliding Allen.
Williams is BYU’s career leader with 3,901 yards rushing.
Williams fell short of the Poinsettia Bowl record of 228 yards by San Diego State’s Ronnie Hillman in 2010.
Wyoming, which lost to San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference championship game Dec. 3, finished 8-6.
Wyoming’s Josh Allen brought the Cowboys back with touchdown passes of 9 and 23 yards to Tanner Gentry in the span of 3 1/2 minutes late in the game. The 23-yard scoring pass came with 2:11 and pulled the Cowboys to 24-21.
Wyoming got the ball back one final time, but Allen tried a pass across his body into double coverage and it was intercepted by Kai Nacua, his sixth pickoff of the season.
This was the renewal of a rivalry that began in 1922 and ended when the Cougars left the Mountain West after the 2010 season.
Mangum ran for a 3-yard score late in the first quarter and then threw a crazy 5-yard touchdown pass that bounced off two Wyoming defenders before Tanner Balderree grabbed it to give BYU a 17-7 lead.
Mangum started in place of Taysom Hill, who strained his left elbow Nov. 26 against Utah State.
BYU, appearing in a San Diego bowl game for the 13th time, also won the Poinsettia Bowl in 2012, 23-6 over San Diego State.
Brian Hill scored on a 4-yard run for Wyoming in the third quarter.
LOSING THE HANDLE
With a heavy rain falling in the first quarter, Wyoming punter Ethan Wood fumbled the snap and teammate Dalton Fields recovered at the Cowboys 3.Two plays later, Mangum scored on a 3-yar d run.
While this was the senior season for Williams and Hill, Mangum will be back next year as a junior. For the Cowboys, they hope this breakout seasons sustains them for several seasons.
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